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Wednesday, August 25, 2004

Saudis still get US visas easily

9 in 10 still get Saudi visas

F al Qaeda wants to strike on U.S. soil be fore the elections, it still has available to it a gaping loophole it exploited pre-9/11: Saudis' easy access to U.S. visas.

Despite supposed reforms implemented by the State Department, current statistics obtained by this columnist reveal that nearly 90 percent of all Saudi visa applicants get approved. To put this in perspective, applicants in most other Arab nations — the ones that didn't send us 15 of 19 9/11 hijackers — are refused visas three to five times more often than Saudis.

Sept. 11 mastermind Khaled Sheikh Mohammed reportedly told U.S. interrogators that the reason 15 of the 19 hijackers were Saudis was because they had by far the easiest time getting visas. According to the 9/11 Commission, Mohammed personally discovered how true this was when he obtained a visa (using an alias) in July 2001 through a program known as Visa Express, which allowed all Saudis to apply for visas at travel agencies.